Thursday, August 18, 2005

Police volunteers are sworn in

Imagine doing something that requires weeks of training, being on call 24 hours a day, and for which you get no compensation.

Police Chief Edward Santiago said Monday (Aug. 15, 2005) it's something that Auxiliary Police Officer Robert Gilliom has been doing for 26 years.

Gilliom was among 13 auxiliary police officers who were sworn in before Monday's City Council meeting as family and friends looked on. In all, the city has 26 auxiliary police officers who help out in emergencies such as the 1999 microburst that sent dozens of mature trees crashing in all directions in the city's southwest section. The unusual weather condition resulted in numerous street closings that required extra traffic control.

The auxiliary officers also work at more predictable events, such as the annual July 4th celebration, Santiago said.

"They are invaluable. We are certainly glad to have them on board," Santiago said.

The officers receive police academy training based on a curriculum from the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. They are in uniform and carry arms only while on duty. Each officer takes an annual oath of office. While on duty, they have full police powers, Santiago said.

Three new officers - Adriana Arias, Christian Pastuna and Mildres Raquel Hartmann - joined 10 veteran officers for the swearing-in ceremony. Officers formed a chain with their right hands raised and left hands on the shoulder of the next person, the last one's hand on the Bible, as City Clerk Laddie Wyatt administered their oaths simultaneously.

Michael Canavan was promoted to sergeant. Others present Monday were Gilliom, William Hauver, George Brown, Christopher R. Donovan, Michael Glowacki, Eric R. Johansen, Mauricio Mendez, Antonio Melendez and Joseph Valente.

Other officers not present were Wally Torian, Eugene Granata, Steven Carlucci, Harry Cohen, Daniel Turner, Ladana Clark, Mohamed Hussein, Vincent Sagesse, Julio Samayoa, Kelvin Brooks, George Mortensen, Cortez Murray and Pasquale Russo.

Santiago said Granata will be promoted to lieutenant and Sagesse will be promoted to sergeant. Plainfield Police Officer Russell Gottlick works with the volunteer group.

The public ceremony was put off from January due to communication and scheduling problems, Santiago said.

--Bernice Paglia

KEYWORDS: police